CLEVELAND -- High ankle sprains have a way of ruining seasons in the National Football League, but Cleveland Browns offensive lineman JC Tretter is not about to let that happen, not after the team has posted a 2-1 record in the last three weeks.
Despite wearing a walking boot both before and after games for the last six weeks, Tretter has remained in the starting lineup for an offense that has averaged 28 points over the last three games and a team that has fought its way into the playoff conversation.
“It has been a battle every week,” Tretter said. “Some weeks have been better than others.
“It is one of those things that you know that when you play on it, it is going to get worse. We have done a good job of kind of limiting the amount of exposure that I have for setbacks. You have to give a lot of credit to the training staff here, getting me as close to 100 percent as I can be every Sunday.”
Just to get back on the field has required “a lot of work,” and despite the challenges, Tretter will continue to go through the process to be ready for Sunday’s game against the red-hot Houston Texans at NRG Stadium in Houston.
“It will probably be an issue here for a few more weeks, but we will just keep working through it,” Tretter said. “I always go into a season with the goal of playing in all 16 games and playing every snap. That is something that I take a lot of pride in.
“The interior three (Tretter, Joel Bitonio and Kevin Zeitler) here has a run going for the last year and 11 games for us. None of us have missed a snap yet, so that is something that we all take pride in, having that constant three the same interior, knock on wood. That is just something that we have always focused on. That is the goal that I think we all have, so that has been a big part of it.”
Since suffering the high ankle sprain in a loss to the Los Angeles Chargers in Cleveland on October 14, Tretter has been restricted to taking mental repetitions during Wednesday and Thursday practices, and limited in his physical responsibilities in Friday’s sessions.
“I think there is always room for improvement,” Tretter said.
“I think that is something, especially with offensive linemen, we rarely get caught too much on the good parts and we usually always focus on the things that we can get better. I am always thinking about what I can do to improve my play and take my play to another level.”
Knowing the pain that comes with playing through a high ankle sprain, Tretter continues to compete because he feels there is something special brewing with the Browns.
“We have goals that we came into the season with, and we are starting to show what we are capable of,” Tretter said. “I do not get too caught up in previous streaks of previous years.
“I know that it has obviously been a rough couple of seasons for the Browns, but I think this team is a totally different team. We have continued to treat the season as one game at a time. We have kind of hit a groove right now. We are going to try to keep that going.”
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